September 25 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Joshua Berlinger, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0458 GMT (1258 HKT) September 26, 2020
24 Posts
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10:30 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

The Queen's real estate portfolio is getting slammed because of the pandemic. British taxpayers could be on the hook for the shortfall

From CNN Business' Hanna Ziady in London

Queen Elizabeth II attends an event in London on February 25.
Queen Elizabeth II attends an event in London on February 25. Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is slamming the vast property empire that provides Queen Elizabeth II with a significant chunk of her income. British taxpayers could be making up the shortfall for years to come.

Michael Stevens, the Queen's treasurer, confirmed in a statement on Friday that the size of the Sovereign Grant, one of the royal family's major sources of income, won't be affected by an expected slump in profits from the Crown Estate's investments.

The Sovereign Grant is a lump sum payment from the government that covers official travel, staff costs and palace expenses. The grant is generated from the Crown Estate, a real estate company that boasts a sprawling collection of farmlands and prime central London property. Most earnings from the Crown Estate go into government coffers, but 25% are paid out by the government to the Queen in the form of the Sovereign Grant.

Last week, the Crown Estate reported a record profit of £345 million ($440.2 million) for the year to March 2020, but warned that earnings for the fiscal year to March 2021 will be "significantly down" on that amount due to the impact of the pandemic on its portfolio.

Much of central London was turned into a ghost town earlier this year as the lockdown kept millions of workers, shoppers and tourists away. Activity was beginning to pick up over the summer months but new restrictions introduced this week to combat a second wave of the virus are expected to dent that recovery.

But the Queen won't be taking a pay cut even if income falls at the Crown Estate this year. The way that the grant is calculated means that she will receive her share of £345 million — £86.3 million ($110 million) — in the year to March 2022. Her payout will also remain at that level in future years, even if the Crown Estate's profit remains under pressure, because the law governing the grant does not allow it to fall in absolute terms.

"In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate's profits, the Sovereign Grant is set at the same level as the previous year," a Treasury spokesperson told CNN Business. "The Sovereign Grant funds the official business of the Monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family," the spokesperson said.

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7:21 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Tokyo 2020 organizers want fewer people to travel to the Olympics

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London and Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo is pictured in Tokyo, Japan, on September 18.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo is pictured in Tokyo, Japan, on September 18. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers are proposing to cut the number of officials at next year’s postponed Summer Games by 10-15% as part of a wider package of proposals aimed at reducing costs and streamlining the event for a post Covid-19 world.

More than 50 simplification measures were proposed by the IOC Coordination Commission at a virtual news conference Friday between the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 officials.

These are some of the proposed measures:

  • Reduce invitations for both the opening and closing ceremonies
  • Remove team welcome ceremonies at the Olympic Village
  • Shorten the opening period for training venues
  • Give fewer officials access to official bus services

Although the length of the 121-day torch relay will not be shortened, the number of staff present and use of official vehicles will be reviewed.

7:04 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Cases of Covid-19 surge in parts of the Middle East that previously had staved off major outbreaks

From CNN's Tamara Qiblawi in Beirut 

Coronavirus cases are surging in some Middle Eastern countries that had previously recorded some of the lowest numbers of pandemic cases in the world. 

The last week has seen a series of record new cases in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

Israel: Israel, which is tightening lockdown restrictions Friday, identified a record number of cases in a day Thursday.

Lebanon: Lebanon also hit a new record of 1,027 daily cases Thursday. Authorities in the capital of Beirut have recently shied away from putting a lockdown in place to slow the spread of the virus. A proactive and strict lockdown during the pandemic’s first wave in Lebanon kept an outbreak at bay, but it tipped the already fragile economy over the edge, causing poverty rates to soar and the Lebanese pound to tank. 

The United Arab Emirates: The UAE recorded its highest daily total of new cases this week, but has loosened some of its restrictions on entry permits to the country. 

Bahrain: The island kingdom of Bahrain has the highest number of active virus cases per million people in the Arab world, according to a tweet by the American University of Beirut’s Global Health Institute. Lebanon ranks second with 2,628 active cases per million.

Saudi Arabia: The spread of confirmed virus cases in Saudi Arabia has slowed significantly over the last month. The kingdom has identified between 483 and 643 new daily cases in the last two weeks. At the peak of Saudi Arabia's outbreak, authorities had been recording nearly 5,000 new cases each day.

Qatar and Egypt have also seen a dramatic drop in new virus cases.

6:44 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Poland sees record increase in coronavirus cases

From Artur Osinski

Ambulance medics wearing protective suits are seen in Krakow, Poland on September 21.
Ambulance medics wearing protective suits are seen in Krakow, Poland on September 21. Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Poland has recorded 1,587 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, a new record for the number of cases identified in a day.

A total of 84,396 people in the country have been infected by the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the Polish Ministry of Health.

Twenty-three new deaths were recorded in the past day, bringing the death toll to 2,392.

6:07 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Watch: UK considers Covid-19 vaccine trials that deliberately expose volunteers to virus

The UK government is considering holding human challenge trials in its efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine.

The move could save months, but means exposing healthy individuals to a virus for which there is currently no known cure. 

CNN’s Cyril Vanier reports on the trials, and the government’s latest financial measures to support the economy through winter.

WATCH:

6:22 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Russia sees highest daily rise in infections since June

From CNN’s Zahra Ullah and Anna Chernova in Moscow 

Medical workers await patients at a hospital complex where people are treated for Covid-19 in New Moscow, Russia, on September 14.
Medical workers await patients at a hospital complex where people are treated for Covid-19 in New Moscow, Russia, on September 14. Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Authorities in Russia said Friday another 7,212 new novel coronavirus infections had been identified throughout the country -- the highest daily number since June 23.

More than 1.1 million people in Russia have been infected since the pandemic began, killing at least 20,056. Public health officials said 108 Covid-19-related deaths were recorded Thursday.

A spike in Moscow: While cases are on the rise throughout the country, Moscow appears to be among the hardest hit. Another 1,560 new cases were announced on Friday, a steep jump from the 1,050 identified the day before.

Mayor Sergey Sobyanin is recommending businesses reinstate work-from-home arrangements. He also asked residents over 65 and those with chronic illnesses to avoid going outside, starting next week. 

“Doctors have learned to diagnose and treat this disease. Nevertheless, according to doctors, the overlapping of two diseases, the common cold and the coronavirus, is very dangerous and can have dire consequences," Sobyanin said.

5:19 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

US still in first Covid-19 wave and should be prepared for "challenge" of fall and winter, Fauci says

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

The United States remains in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, since cases never declined significantly to a good baseline, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert.

The idea of a second wave is based on the pattern seen during the 1918 pandemic, when cases were seen in the spring and then cases "literally disappeared" before there was an "explosion" of cases in the fall, Fauci said.

Rather than say, 'A second wave,' why don't we say, 'Are we prepared for the challenge of the fall and the winter?'" Fauci said.

That challenge could include surges of Covid-19 cases across the country as more fronts open up, including the many schools and colleges nationwide that have welcomed students back to class. And as the weather gets cooler, more gatherings will move inside, where the virus can spread more easily.

There's also a potentially complicated flu season on its way that could pile on top of the pandemic and quickly overwhelm the healthcare system. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director has warned it could be a historically difficult fall and winter.

Across the US, more than 6.9 million people have already been infected with the virus. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said this week more than 90% of the population remains susceptible to the virus. At least 202,000 Americans have died.

As of early Friday morning, 23 states across the country's heartland and Midwest reported an increase of new cases compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. About 16 states were trekking steady. Eleven states saw a decline -- Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

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5:06 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Watch: Africa's CDC chief explains continent's low death rate

From CNN's David McKenzie

The Covid-19 death rate in Africa has defied expectations and stayed relatively low.

CNN's David McKenzie speaks to Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of Africa's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about the continent's coronavirus response.

WATCH:

4:19 a.m. ET, September 25, 2020

Opinion: Will the public trust a Covid-19 vaccine?

Opinion from Edgar K. Marcuse

Editor's Note: Edgar Marcuse is emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author.

Operation Warp Speed, the mission to develop an effective Covid-19 vaccine, seeks to deliver 300,000 doses by January 2021. According to projections from the University of Washington, by then the US death toll from the novel coronavirus will likely have reached nearly 400,000.

What evidence of vaccine effectiveness -- balanced by what assurance of safety -- would prompt you to seek a dose of one of these novel vaccines to protect an elderly family member or for yourself?

Optimal use of these Covid-19 vaccines will depend on the confidence of the American people in the processes leading up to the vaccines' release. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Biologics License Application (BLA) is the standard path to vaccine licensing. The rigor and transparency of this process ensures clinician and public confidence in vaccine safety and efficacy.

But now there is concern the FDA will sidestep the BLA and instead use an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to speed access to these vaccines. If so, extraordinary actions will be needed to assure the public that these vaccines are very safe and effective.

Transparency: The EUA process for vaccine approval, should be fully transparent and include input from relevant federal advisory committees. The voting members of these committees are independent experts without ties to the federal government or to vaccine manufacturers. They should have access to the safety and efficacy data that informed the FDA's decision to use the EUA process for the vaccine's release. Only then can the process be seen as credible and free from political bias.

To foster trust in the expertise and integrity of those who review the vaccine and make recommendations to the public, there must be frequent communication from a group of HHS experts, such as leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with only limited input from pharmaceutical representatives.

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